Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nieghbors

Have you ever received a letter in your mailbox from  a neighbor.  With the exception of   Lost Pet notices, they are very annoying. They're meaningless disputes with another neighbor(s) over some minor matter . Besides being against the law (a federal offense under USC Title 18), they are a nuisance, especially if you get more than one over a short period of time as I did. Actually, I received letters and rebuttals about issues that occurred a couple blocks away. Although I did not confront the authors it did inspire me to write the following poem  about this experience. Read and enjoy.


Letters in My Mailbox

Letters in my mailbox from neighbors I don’t know.

They live down a block or two--places I don’t go.

Their letters speak of squabbles with neighbors of their own.

They need to keep it to themselves—and just leave me alone.


One letter wants to know why her house burned to ash.

When will she rebuild—and pick up all the trash.


Another says her neighbors are cowardly and crude.

Her dogs ran through neighbors yards, one time that is true.

But yelling out profanities is not right to do.

Instead of meeting face to face, cops come to her door.

They plaster notes upon her car—she said she wants no more.


Their letters vent the anger of these atrocities.

But why I’m involved in their trivialities.


Now I get rebuttals from the letters of before.

I’ve received three or four of them; I hope there are no more.

Maybe I should call the cops, or send letters of my own.

Or meet with them face to face to tell them send no more.


More letters in my mailbox, it’s become a daily thing.

Accusations go back and forth, they pick on everything.

My trash cans overflowing, I’m drowning in their ink.

At least they could spell check, or one would think.


I took my mailbox off the post, but to no avail.

Now they place them at my door—it’s a living hell.


Bowing to their letters—tomorrow I will sell.





Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween

It is "The Day," the end and beginning of the Celtic New Year. The time for mediation in groves of sacred trees,  of self-initiation, of  reconnecting with spirit, appreciating and communicating  with the dead and a recommitment to your spiritual path. It is the holiday of Samhain, also known as, Calan Gaeaf, Hallowmass, All Hallow's Eve, and Halloween. A time of creating sacred space, a circle, within the magic of sacred trees, allowing us to part the thin veil and enter the Otherworld to communicate with the spirits of departed ancestors, friends, family, and animals.

In ancient times, Samhain lasted three days and was considered a celebration of death and rebirth. It encouraged people to do crazy things--cross dressing of men and women, children would knock on neighbor's doors for food or treats, Farmers' gates would be unhinged and left in ditches, and horses were moved to different fields. It is the root of our modern day Halloween. But for those who are more into the deeper meaning, 'The Day" is a source of guidance and inspiration rather than fear, gloom and doom, and all focused on death and rebirth. A shaman's journey to the Otherworld to communicated with departed spirits with the help and guidance of  your own totems, guides or deities (animals, trees, faeries, gods, etc). A self-initiation of the process of death, afterlife and rebirth, in that, death is a step to the afterlife and ultimately rebirth.

Today there are no sacred groves and if no trees are available to conduct your sacred space, you can use candles. Lite them  in the darkness, call the spirit world  and remember your dearly departed and their teachings and legacies. Add an extra setting at your table to invite the spirits to join you and enter the Otherworld in silence.

For me, today I will be scrying for enlightenment, inspiration and messages on my spiritual path.

Happy Halloween for all who read.                                    

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Day at ORF 2011

With the weather gods smiling, the Lovely Lady D and I traveled to the scenic valley and rolling hills of the Ohio Renaissance Festival (ORF). It was an awesome day,  sunny, warm temps, clear blue skies and beautiful fall colors adorning the trees. This perfect setting enhanced the jovial mood of  rennies, attendees, casts, and vendors alike. The smell of the faire food made your mouth water and the sounds of the entertainment from various stages invigorated your spirit into a festive frenzy.

We strolled through the various vendors and bought trinkets of  jewelry, cups and statues. I met a beautiful Lady in white who allowed me to take her picture for this blog and we just enjoyed each others company, the day and festivities. Our highlight, besides our newly acquired trinkets, was our reunion with Lady Megan who read our stones and enlightened us with her stories.

After a day of feast, turkey legs, pretzels and drink, we bid farewell to ORF. As winter approaches, we look upon our festival treasures in fond memories and expectations of  our return next year.


video

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Equinox

Today is the first day of Fall, or the Autumn Equinox, like it's sister the Vernal Equinox (Spring), it is  when the sun crosses the celestrial equator and day and night are equal lenghts.  The Autumn Equinox is known by many names, i.e.,  Elfed, the Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Night of the Hunter, Wine Harvest, and Witch's Thanksgiving. In druidism, it was  called Alban  Elfed ( Light of the Water), Mabon, it was the Second Harvest and the  beginning of the dark half of  the lunar year. A time of the Wine Moon and the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. Upon this equinox, the last corn sheaf or stock harvested was woven into the figure of a man/women, then dressed in fine clothes and burned in the fields to release the corn spirit.

Wicker Man
Wikimedia Commons
                                                                                                                                                             
To commemorate this day I have written this poem.

Mother Earth yawns in ready for  winter's sleep,
Her children borrow and  forage--
the last of harvest's reap

 Day no longer than night,
 Night no longer than day,
Thus the cycle of Light ends
And  Darkness rules the way

All motion slows,
Trees shed their leaves,
Plants wither
Bees die--
In the cooling breeze

Soon Mother Earth will curl
Under winter's blanket of white,
Waiting for renewal,
The beginning of the Light

Welcome to the first day of Autumn.







Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sacred Trees

In Druid Tradition, trees were sacred and possessed  spiritual and magical powers.The following is an excerpt of my latest article, Sacred Trees, which is in Renaissance Magazine, Vol.16#4, Issue #80 which is currently available at newsstands and bookstores.

"To the Celtic druids’ trees not only provided basic needs of food, shelter and fuel for warmth, but were a source of great wisdom, magical power and a connector between our world and the Otherworld. Ritualistic ceremonies and meditations were conducted in sacred groves (nemeton) throughout the dense forests of Europe in homage, signifying their connection to Mother Earth and nature.
The Mother of all trees was the Yellow Cedar, for she was the Tree of Life. She represented the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, symbolizing our connection and harmony of nature. She was the median for the gods, us and the Otherworld. Her branches reached high into the heavens, her trunk was the earthly plane (our world) and her deep roots connected to the Otherworld. Planted in the center of the land she canopied all four corners of the Earth, giving shelter and nourishment to all life.
In druid tradition, all trees had some wisdom, spirituality or magic associated with them, some with greater or lesser wisdom or magic, thus a tree hierarchy was established starting with the seven most sacred, or chieftain trees, Oak, Hazel, Apple, Yew, Ash, Holly, and Pine..."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Say A Prayer For Annie

Annie is our Giant Schnauzer Mix. A sweet dog with big brown eyes and a gentle disposition.
But due to a gross misdiagnoses at the Oak Forest Animal Clinic, she has a rib wall tumor that is too big to remove, so the only option is radiation treatment. Needless to say, they are no longer our veterinarians.

Some may think I am too harsh on  the veterinarians when I say they are incompetent, but Annie has been limping on her left fore paw for over a year. Every time I brought her into the clinic I mentioned it and asked them to check it out. All three vets said the same thing, "it's a fatty mass that all terriers get." But none of them wanted to explore it further, even upon my insistence. So, about a three weeks ago we took a trip to Florida with Annie and Chili (our other dog). During the trip, Annie's left side started bulging out. Upon our return, I took her back to the vet. He said it was an abscess, gave some antibiotic and said to come back in a week. On the next visit, he finally took an x-ray and told me that Annie had a rib wall tumor. He also said that it was uncommon for Terriers to get them, however, everything I read stated just the opposite and that limping on a fore paw is a key sign for this tumor. In some respects I feel I am to blame. I should have taken her somewhere else since I thought there was a problem, but instead I took their word. I know it's the vet's fault, but I can't stop the feeling. I realize a lot of  people would have put her down, but Annie's in good health and she's been trying to fight it, so if she's not giving up, then neither should I.

So here we are, going into our third week of radiation therapy. Besides the tumor, she's developed a couple of pressure sores on the elbows, which we treat and wrap every other day. But Annie is a fighter and hopefully she will overcome this cancer.

So say a prayer for Annie. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Gov Bites the Dust


Former Illinois Governor Rod Blogojevich, the charismatic politician and lover of Rock music (Elvis Presley), was convicted on 10 counts of wire fraud, along with extortion and bribery charges. In all, he was convicted on 17 of 20 counts listed in the Federal indictment.
Blogojevich joins a long list of Illinois, Chicago, and Cook County politicians and officials convicted of graft and corruption.  
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that since 1972, 79 public figures have been  convicted :                                           
                                                                                                                                                                   
3 Governors-George Ryan (still serving), Dan Walker, Otto Kearner Jr.                                  
15 State Legislators
1 Mayor
3 City Officials                                                                       
27 Aldermen
19 Cook County Judges
11 Cook County Officials

Although it's a bad time for Blogojevich and his family, it's a triumph for criminal justice, but  another sad legacy for Illinois where official corruption seems to spawn graft, rip-offs, kick backs and dirty backroom deals. No wonder why Illinois is tagged with the moniker of "Land of Greased Palms" and " Crook County."
 Maybe the future Governors and public officials will at last bring back honesty and respect to Illinois, but don't bet on that happening anytime soon.    
                                                                     

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice ( June 21st ) is upon us.  The Day when the sun is at it's highest point and a time of harvest, fertility and prosperity. A time of celebration called Litha or Midsummer, when bonfires are lit on the Midsummer's Eve and people would sing, dance and perform other rituals, i.e., jumping over bonfires for good luck, spreading the ash over fields for good harvest and throwing herbs, i.e., sage, rosemary, yarrow and sunflower into the fire to release their magic for protection and good health.

Midsummer's Eve was a time magic, when the veil between worlds were at its  thinnest allowing  beasts to roam  and faeries to weave their magic. A time when the herbs and flowers like, marigold, parsley, thyme, thorn, and honeysuckle were at their greatest potency and gathered for the year.

Litha is still conducted today under St. John's Day along with some of its ancient rituals.

Tonight is the Midsummer's Eve, my bonfire will be lit, herbs and flowers will be cast into the flames and its ashes sprinkled on the soil. I will celebrate, embrace the magic of the night, bathe in the scared pond, and await the rising sun of the Solstice.
To all I extend good fortune for the coming year. Hail the Summer Solstice!

For more information, you can read my article, Summer Solstice in the new issue of Renaissance Magazine, Issue # 79 now available at newsstands and book stores.







Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ren Fest 2011

A new season of  Renaissance Fests are upon us. In April, when the Chicago area was still wrapped in cold, snow/rain and depressing weather, Lady D and I ventured south to the sunshine, blue skies and 90's of Tampa Bay, Fl to partake in the Bay Area Renaissance Festival.  This is one of the smaller fairs with 120-130 booths. It did have some different vendors with interesting and good quality items, i.e., name necklaces made from silver wire and some excellent fragrant oils and incense. Lady D even got in a well needed and deserved massage.


The Royal Court was also different, usually the Court consists of a Queen as the head ruler, however, this Court consisted of a King and Queen which brought a little different dynamics to the setting.
All in all, it was a grand festival, the weather was beautiful, the atmosphere cheery and a place to return to in coming seasons. Happy Ren Festing to all!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (Revival)

The lovely lady D and I recently went to see Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. It was the 2009 revival of the original 1967 version with the same plot and great songs. Held at the beautiful Oriental Theater (now the Ford Center ) in Chicago with it's ornate decor and red velvety carpets and seats, we settled in for the performance. From the first verses of Aquarius we were taken back to the late 60's. The whole production was in total sync, funny in parts, dramatic and sad in others, all performed with intensity and high energy. The main characters Berger-Steel Burkhardt, Claude-Paris Remillard and Sheila-Caren Lyn Tackett were phenomenal as were the rest of the cast. I think the best parts were the interactions with the audience, at times the cast would run and sing up the aisles of the main floor and at one point gave out flowers to the audience-- it was very cool. At the end of final song, cast members urged everyone to come on stage and partake in singing and dancing to the extended finale which lasted at at least 15 minutes, it was a great time for everyone.

For those born after this era, let me give a little background which will help you appreciate and understand why this musical is a classic. 1967 was time when the Vietnam War was in full swing and  men between the ages 18-25 were drafted into the armed forces. The Vietnam War was unpopular and anti-war protests , many of the violent, occurred across the country. . It was a time of countercultures, drugs, sexual revolution, civil rights, gay rights,woman's rights, ecology, spirituality and self awareness surfacing and clashing with mainstream America and their social norms. It was a time of  rock music and artists like Jimmy Hendricks, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. It was a time when largest counterculture the"hippies"flourished in San Francisco, New York and other parts of the country. It was the Summer of Love.
The musical Hair was revolutionary , it was the first rock musical, it encapsulated the hippie counterculture and all of the above mentioned issues.  Of course the 2009 revival sends the same message as the original, but the impact is lessened due to changes in society and government. Although, a lot of the issues have not been resolved like, hunger, homelessness, drugs and others.


The story plot :
Claude, his best friend Berger and their roommate Shelia are part of a "tribe" of long-haired hippies living in New York City, politically motivated against the Vietnam War who struggle to balance their lives, loves, sexuality, personal identities, and rebellion against the war within the structure of  conservative parents and society. After Berger and other male tribe members protest the war by burning their draft cards, Claude must decide between following the tribes act of defiance or compromise his pacifism and perform his patriotic duty.

The songs of this musical represent the counter-culture and issues of the time. Sodomy, sex, sexual revolution, poverty, interracial relationships, drugs, discrimination, ecology, astrology, spiritual awareness, and anti-government/ authority, and war.

The Songs:
Aquarius- astrology, spiritual awareness
Sodomy- sex, sexual revolution
Colored Spade-racial discrimination
Ain't Got No-poverty, homelessness, family dysfunction
Air-ecology
I Got Life -self awareness
Hair-self awareness
Hashish-drugs, spiritual awareness
Be-In, drugs, spiritual awareness
Walking in Space-spiritual/self awareness
Black Boys-interracial relationship
White Boys-interracial relationship
Going Down-anti-establishment(education)
Three-Five-Zero-Zero-anti-war

All in all, Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is something everyone should at least once in their lifetime.

Peace--Love--Flowers--Happiness to all.

http://www.hairontour.com/

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Two Cents on the Bears and Jay Cutler

Let's face it, the Bears were in dysfunction mode, the offense sucked, the defense was so-so and the running game and special teams were non-existent (Hester who). The coaching was even worse. It appears that they wanted to match Rodgers pass for pass instead of their "balanced attack" of runs and passes. I think the Bears were stunned when Rodgers and the Pack came out red hot in the first series and then they went into emergency mode.

Cutler was horrible and acted like a spoiled teenager when things went wrong. Even worse, he looked like he had lost the game at the end of the first quarter. As for his injury, how serious was it and could he play, we'll have to take it at face value cause the doctors, trainers and Lovie would never sandbag their million dollar quarterback. I don't think the issue is Cutlers toughness, but I think quitting as some merit, he looked and acted as if he did quit, injury or not.

All in all, it was a complete team meltdown. How do we fix the team, fire Lovie (he isn't that great, just more lucky), rethink Cutler's contract, kick these spoiled over paid players in the ass to do their job and please--bring back DITKA!